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HP Colour LaserJet Pro M255dw review: A good-value colour laser that produces excellent prints

5 Mar 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
260
inc VAT

High-quality prints delivered quickly and it’s extraordinarily simple to set up and use

Pros 
Easy setup
Cost effective with ink usage
Lots of ways to connect wirelessly
Cons 
Low physical print resolution
Colour prints can be oversaturated
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Laser printers might not produce the best photo prints, but for churning out office documents quickly and reliably they can’t be beaten, and the affordable HP Colour LaserJet Pro M255dw is one of the best we’ve seen.

It doesn’t have multifunctional features, but if you’re looking for a printer to produce page after page of letters, newsletters and other typical office printing, it’s well up to the task.

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HP Colour LaserJet Pro M255dw review: What do you get for the money?

At £260 it isn’t the cheapest colour laser around, but that money does net you a well-specified office workhorse. A 250-sheet plain paper tray sits at the bottom of the unit, prints are fed out of the top, and it’s great for large jobs as the output tray can hold up to 100 sheets without needing to be cleared. Connectivity is achieved via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB and there’s also a USB-A port for printing direct from a thumb drive.

Settings are accessed via a responsive, smooth-scrolling colour touchscreen. This sits on top of the printer on a hinge that can be adjusted to whichever angle works best for you. With large colourful icons, it’s very easy to read and intuitive to use as well.

Setup is incredibly simple. All you need to do is load some paper, plug it into a power socket and switch it on. In a nice touch, the toner cartridges come preinstalled so you don’t need to go through the bother of unwrapping cartridges.

In fact, you don’t even need to connect the M255dw to a computer to set it up on your Wi-Fi network since that can be done via the touchscreen. If you connect it to your computer via USB, however, the HP Smart app will transfer your PC’s Wi-Fi credentials over to the printer, making it even easier. All in all, it’s an extraordinarily simple process.

READ NEXT: The best photo printers to buy

HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw review: What’s print quality like?

Although it’s a colour printer, the M255dw is best aimed at those with occasional colour requirements. In our tests, monochrome prints were excellent: text was sharp and crisp, even at very small font sizes.

And although the physical print resolution is a fairly low 600 x 600dpi, realistically you need a magnifying glass to spot the difference, unless you are specifically printing ultra-fine detailed work. For most standard print jobs, it’s good enough.

Our mixed text and colour print tests looked good too, although the colour prints were a little oversaturated and there was the odd flaw in the colour separation. If you want to print more photos than text, you’re better off opting for an inkjet.

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HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw review: What about speed and running costs?

The M255dw proved a bit slow off the mark, taking 36 seconds to produce its first page in our speed tests. Once it’s going, though, it soon picks up speed. It isn’t lightning-fast, but in our test it produced our 25-page mono document at a rate of 14.3 pages per minute, while our 24-page colour document was printed at a rate of 9.3 pages per minute.

When printing in mono, the M255dw is a cost-effective laser, too. Its high-yield black toner cartridge can produce over 3,000 pages, which works out at roughly 2.6p per page. Colour prints are produced using the printer’s three-colour toner cartridges, which are also available in high-yield versions and can print over 2,400 pages each. This leaves colour prints costing around 13.5p per page.

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It’s a little cheaper than average for mono prints, and slightly more expensive when printing in colour but, overall, costs are similar to other laser printers we’ve reviewed recently.

It’s worth noting, however, that you can reduce costs by taking advantage of the printer’s ability to automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper. It does this pretty quickly, too, dishing out prints at a rate of six sides per minute.

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HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw review: Should you buy it?

If you need to print a lot of colour documents and are fixed on a laser printer because you need extra speed, this isn’t the cheapest option.

However, if you want double-sided printing, all the features you could possibly need, superb ease of use and solid, reliable printing for high-volume printing, the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw is a very fine choice.